The two former team-mates will go up against each other in the dug-out on Wednesday, with the Barcelona boss quick to praise his friend’s impact at the Allianz Arena
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has praised the way Pep Guardiola has changed Bayern Munich’s playing style but doesn’t think his time in charge at Camp Nou will have any impact on Wednesday’s meeting between the sides.
The two teams face one another in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final, as Guardiola faces his old club for the first time since his departure in the summer of 2012.
The 44-year-old took charge of the Bavarians in the summer of 2012-13 after Jupp Heynckes had guided them to a historic treble and has since led Bayern to two Bundesliga titles and one DFB Pokal.
The Allianz Arena side missed out on Champions League glory last term after being thrashed 7-0 over two legs by eventual winners Real Madrid, but Luis Enrique feels Guardiola has done a fine job at the German giants.
“I believe that Bayern, since Guardiola became the coach, have a slightly different playing style,” he said at a press conference.
“He has maintained the positive aspects and added his own touch. They are one of the best teams in Europe without a doubt. We don’t think about beating Pep, we want to beat Bayern – a historic club in Europe. Unfortunately only one of us will reach the final.
“I don’t think Pep has any doubts about what we are going to do tomorrow. We both want possession and we shall see who is in better condition tomorrow. I respect them of course, but other than that, we are motivated and feel we can win tomorrow. He knows every one of my players very well, but I don’t think it’s a determining factor for the match. This type of game is resolved by minor details.
“It will be nice for the players to see Pep again. But they feel the match is more important than to see their former coach. There’s always time at the end of the game to say hello.”
Luis Enrique then gave his thoughts on the injury crisis facing Bayern ahead of the game, which sees them without David Alaba, Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben amongst a host of absentees.
He added: “Bayern are good enough to overcome their injuries. We have prepared for this match in the usual way, despite the men they will be missing.
“We will try to do the same as we have done all season. We have to score goals and not concede any, which means we have to be a complete team. It’s not just about attacking and defending, we have to do both jobs.”
Barcelona remain in the hunt for the treble having already secured their place in the final of the Copa del Rey, as well as sitting top of La Liga ahead of their last four European tie and Luis Enrique admitted he is excited by the prospect of winning three trophies.
“I like the word treble, I love it. But, we know it can go from three [potential trophies] to zero. We know we are in the position to win all three but we haven’t finished the season yet. There are four teams that want to win the Champions League.
“There are no favourites for this match, It’s a semi-final. We are playing at home with our crowd – that makes us stronger. The crowd has to be great, supporting the team especially when the opponent is hurting us, I want them to be even more enthusiastic tomorrow.”